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Chengguan bureau creates militia unit

(Global Times)

14:53, August 03, 2012

The urban management bureau of Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, has created a militia unit that will provide 40 of its young chengguan, or urban management officers, with military training that will expand their duties in times of crisis and help improve their performance and reputation.

It is the first time that a militia unit in the city has been formed within a government department. It is hoped the young officers will bring more vibrancy to the militia, reported the Wuhan-based news portal cjn.cn.

The militia in China acts much like a national guard and its members are military reservists under the People's Liberation Army. They can be called to active duty at times of crisis, emergencies and national disasters.

The 40 chengguan from the urban management bureau of the city's Hanyang district will be given military training and education to prepare them to deal with crises and help maintain social stability.

"The establishment of the new armed force department in the Hanyang bureau is a trend in government departments sharing responsibility for the mobilization of the militia," an official in the Hanyang District People's Armed Forces Department, who asked not to be named, told the Global Times. "Gradually, there will be more government departments getting involved in the militia mobilization."

"Wuhan's militia has important missions in dealing with floods, since the city is situated on three rivers. The government aims to form a group that can be sent to fight floods at any time, and the large number of young chengguan can best serve the purpose," the official added.

Some experts believe the militia unit might also help the reputation of chengguan whose duty is to enforce municipal laws and regulations that can sometimes put them in conflict with street vendors and residents.

"The chengguan bureau is carrying out its obligation by enrolling officers in the militia, and the public should not judge the bureau because of its previous negative image," Xiong Wenzhao, a professor with the law school at the Minzu University of China, told the Global Times Thursday.

"Over 20 percent of current chengguan are former servicemen, who have already received professional trainings in the army and are more capable of serving in the militia," said Xiong.

"This makes the urban management bureau the first choice to establish such a unit," Xiong added.

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